There are times in life when we must take things at face value. At least until we learn otherwise. If we fail to do so, we’ll be analyzing every minute and get nothing else done.
But what about when we “learn otherwise“? What about the times when we discover others really aren’t our friends?
What about when we find they have betrayed us in some manner? Have hidden the truth from us to their own advantage? What then?
Such realizations can cause us emotional harm – as well as deter us from our appointed paths. Betrayal is one of life’s toughest experiences to deal with. And forgiveness? Well let me just say it comes slowly and takes it’s own emotional toll. At least it does for me!
Over the past several months, we’ve learned of betrayals at every level of life. Each of us has been impacted in one way or another by half-truths and bold-faced lies. From those in high places, as well as those nearer to us. So what to do about it? Or should I say – how to handle such life events?
Let me preface the following by saying that I don’t handle such events well! I’m a “muller” so the bitterness of such discovery hangs on like a shroud. And no matter how much I pray to forgive – and forget; forgiveness comes hard. And forgetfulness – well if I had forgotten I wouldn’t be writing this post at this time of year!
Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years that I’d like to share:
1. Our inclination is to trust. Something in the human DNA leads us to believe that all is right with the world which means all is well with that (and those) which surrounds us.
2. When trust is broken; its tentacles reach deep into our souls. It rips our natural inclination to trust apart at the seams and leaves a gaping wound that can bleed for a very long time.
3. Our reactions to such life events is a choice. I can choose to “burn” the betrayer – or I can turn from them in an effort to work forgiveness into my soul.
NOTE: I didn’t say “our feelings”. Our feelings are simply that – how the betrayal impacts my heart and mind with it’s ‘smack’. They are neither good nor bad. They are our humanity experiencing the pain and suffering of hurt. It’s how we choose to respond that is our choice.
4. Not everyone reacts in the same manner. And that difference is important. For some, working out and through the experience takes a long time. You know, the old adage “time heals all wounds“! It does; but the intervening days, months and sometimes years can be excruciating to say the least.
5. Without forgiveness of the person, bitterness will set in. Each time we encounter new folks and new situations we’ll become less trusting. And eventually very cynical – about people and – about life!
NOTE: I didn’t say “forgiveness of the betrayal“. We are not called to forgive the actions – but the person who perpetrated the actions. We may remember the offense the rest of our lives; but once we forgive the person, the painful feelings will no longer have a negative hold on us – or our lives.
6. When at all possible – CONFRONT. Confront self with the honesty of what has happened. And confront the offender.
I recall that Paul made a very wise statement in one of his letters to the early Christian communities: “don’t let the sun set on your anger“. His wisdom is truth. When we don’t confront the offender and the situation – or for some reason feel we can’t, then feelings fester. And festering feelings lead to bitterness, contempt and ultimately personal despair. Anger always sits under hurt and depression – always! And under anger is fear.
7. Talk it out. Talk it out with others you know you can trust. Talk it out with yourself. Let it all hang out in a safe place; for doing so will let the raw emotion drip from your soul.
8. Try not to Re-Act. In other words, don’t do anything while the immediacy of the situation is at hand. For your actions will be driven by the gut with the brain dis-engaged. Let the dust settle – literally. For when it does; we can see the situation more clearly and how best to deal with it for the good of all.
As I reflect on my words, I realize I’m not sharing anything earth-shattering and new. It’s things we’ve heard for eons and know almost instinctively. Yet each time trust is shattered, it feels like the first time its happened. And the cycle begins again. . .
We near the end of a year and prepare for a new one. We enter the season of “peace on earth and good will to all“. If betrayal has been a part of the old and we don’t want to enter a new with drippings of cynicism clouding our desires for success; perhaps a good choice is to be cautiously optimistic that we will overcome that which hurt deeply.
Most of all, let’s decide that wisdom is the better part of valor when it comes to those who betray our trust. Wisdom that helps us avoid such experiences in the future.
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Empowering Women to Thrive
You’ll find us at the following locations-Come Join Us!
Neighborhood Boutiques – OPEN NOW
COFFEE in the NEIGHBORHOOD
The Neighborhood at Facebook
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/2382941337/pjm5n494765lxfks49h7_400x400.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally and professionally. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]